Banyan Tree Shanghai Review: The Best View in the City?

For my first visit to Shanghai, I knew I wanted to stay someplace special.

We were going to be there for 4 nights, so figured we’d stay at 2 different places to have a couple unique experiences while in the City.

For our first two nights we opted for the Banyan Tree Shanghai, or the “Banyan Tree on the Bund” as they call it.

I’d never actually stayed at a Banyan Tree before, but after seeing photos of their “Bund Oasis” rooms with a pool in the room, I was immediately intrigued.

When I booked they didn’t have any available during the time we would be there, but the person helping me said “While we don’t have any Oasis rooms available, we do have a Bund Retreat we would like to upgrade you to. And honestly? It’s an even better room.”

Better than having a pool in your hotel room?! This I’ve gotta see.

Lo and behold, the “Bund Retreat” was truly one of the most memorable hotel rooms I’ve ever stayed in.

This along with the Peninsula in New York, and the Treehouse Villa at the Shangri-La Maldives would have to qualify as the best “upgrades” I’ve ever received.

Banyan Tree Shanghai

The office in the Bund Retreat.

First Impressions of Banyon Tree on the Bund

Having never been to Shanghai before, I didn’t really know the layout of the city, or where exactly we’d want to stay.

First off, the city is absolutely massive. Huge. Sprawling. GIGANTIC.

Nothing had prepared me for just how big it truly is.

I’d heard of the Bund before, which seemed to be a popular area – so that felt like a logical place to begin looking for hotels.

A lot of the 5-star properties were downtown, but from a tourist perspective – it sounded like that may not be the best option.

“It’s better to find a place where you can look at downtown, than actually stay there.”

Well, the Banyan Tree on the Bund seemed to fit that bill nicely.

Unfortunately, it isn’t quite as close to everything as I’d hoped. It’s a pretty good walk from the hotel to get to the heart of what I’d consider the Bund. But as such, you’re treated to a little less chaos, and some absolutely ridiculous views.

Bund Retreat: A Spectacular Hotel Room

When we arrived at the hotel, I didn’t totally know what to expect. I was told our room upgrade would be nice, but to be honest, I was still a little disappointed to not get the Oasis room. 

All of that changed once we stepped inside.

Holy views.

The Bund Retreat which is situated all the way on the edge of the hotel has unobstructed 270 degree views of Shanghai, including the famous Pearl Tower. 

Bund Retreat at the Banyan Tree Shanghai.

The view from the Bund Retreat at night

You could see it from the office.

You could see it from the bed.

You could see it from the massive bathtub (that was probably even better than having the “pool.”

Bund Retreat at the Banyan Tree Shanghai.

Bathtub and bathroom in the Bund Retreat

This room provided an experience that rivaled any other hotel I’ve ever stayed at.

Each morning I answered emails and did some work from the stately desk overlooking the city.

One of my favorite features of high-end hotels is always the Nespresso pods. Sure I could go out and buy one at home for less than half of the cost of a night in this room – but that would take away from this small slice of luxury.

Bund Retreat Layout

The way the room was laid out was smart and very functional. 

It was basically a giant circle. You walk in at “5 o’clock” and has a nice private entry way which leads to the coffee station and mini bar. As you make your way around the room, you find the office at 3, a sitting area at 11, the bathtub at 9, and the bathroom at 6. 

The bed was right in the middle of it all.

This provided views from nearly every spot in the room, privacy in the bathroom, and a bed that you never wanted to leave as you soaked it all in.

The bathtub was massive. To the point where we insisted on taking one every night simply because the size and the view of the city was so unprecedented. 

Bund Retreat at the Banyan Tree Shanghai.

The opposite view of the bathroom.

Oh, and did I mention the TV hidden in the mirror next to the tub? 

I still think back to how much I enjoyed those baths…

Does that sound weird? Ok yeah, that sounds weird.

But still. It’s true…

Banyan Tree Shanghai Rooftop Bar

One of the benefits of staying at the Banyan Tree Shanghai is the spectacular views from their rooftop bar. As I’ve mentioned, it’s not quite as convenient as some of the other hotels in the Bund area, but because it’s a bit farther out, you get better panoramic views of the city than from just about anywhere else.

The Banyan Tree Shanghai rooftop bar.

The Banyan Tree Shanghai rooftop bar.

We were there early on a weeknight in November, so it was a little chilly and not super crowded. But I can imagine on a summer weekend it’s a pretty awesome scene.

And if you’re there at an off time? Being able to enjoy the views with some extra privacy is certainly worth visiting for. 

It may not quite be one of the best hotel bars in the world, but it’s absolutely one of the best views in the city.

Sunset view from the rooftop bar.

Sunset view from the rooftop bar.

Final Thoughts on the Banyan Tree on the Bund

Despite not being quite in the center of it all, staying at the Banyan Tree provided a very memorable hotel experience.

I was hoping for day spa facilities for hotel guests, but as I understood it the spa only had treatments, which we, unfortunately, were not able to make time for. There was a great indoor pool, however.

I should also mention that before we left I was able to get a tour of an Oasis room. A very cool hotel room to be sure. It had nice views of downtown, but I should have tempered my expectations of “pool.” 

The Oasis Suite pool at the Banyan Tree Shanghai

The Oasis Suite pool

Banyan Tree Shanghai Oasis Suite

The “Oasis Suite” with your own “pool.”

It was more of a large soaking tub, and since it wasn’t situated at the end of the hotel like the Bund Retreat rooms, you didn’t get the full 270 degree views – so I’d definitely lean towards the Bund rooms if given the choice.

After our two nights at the Banyan Tree on the Bund we headed across town to the Jingan district to stay at the new St. Regis. Another very memorable, but different experience.

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